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I mean that quite literally- my first “job” was running a “beauty salon” out of my parents’ guest bedroom in which I would give my “customers” (my mum and dad) “facials.”
I was 3. Hence the inverted commas.
While my techniques and understanding of facial massage have well and truly evolved, as one would hope, my love of it has never wavered. I’ve added multiple tech-driven skincare devices to my home facial routine, however I still love to bring things back to basics- for both my skin health and the peace it brings to my day.
There are a number of facial sculpting tools that don’t require any charging- namely the gua sha tool, the facial roller, and our humble knuckles.
There are arguments both for and against facial massage, so engage or opt out as you wish. I, however, cannot see a world in which I tap out of facial massage, so here I present to you why I love it so, what rollers and gua sha can do for the skin, which is better, and how you can work these ancient tools into your routine.
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medicine practise first recorded in a Chinese medical text, the Shang Han Lan, in 220 CE. The literal translation is “to scrape petechiae,” which are smell red spots that would appear after the treatment.
Gua sha has, and can, been used to treat a variety of ailments and muscular conditions over the entire body, however for the purpose of this story, we refer to gua sha as the act of using a gua sha tool over the face, neck and decolletage, typically for facial sculpting and tension relieving purposes.
A gua sha tool is a flat stone, often a crystal, shaped to fit the contours of the face and body.
Facial rolling also originated in Ancient China, and while the benefits of gua sha and facial rolling overlap, the tools are very different (despite both usually being made from jade or rose quartz today). A facial roller has a long handle with a rolling piece at the end. Some facial rollers have a rolling piece on both ends- one larger for the cheeks and neck, and one smaller to fit the eye area.
This is a really frequently asked question, however given that these practises are traditionally used in ancient Chinese medicine, I am conscious of cultural appropriation- I am not best placed to be teaching you this practise.
I love the step-by-step videos on how to use facial rollers and gua sha tools by the Zove Beauty team (which you can find here), which is a company founded by Asian-Australian Adeline Yeak.
There’s also some great ways that you can engage in facial massage without purchasing a tool, simply by using your fingertips and knuckles. I love the techniques I’ve learnt through watching Lisa Eldridge (and bonus points for this video if you’re having a hard time falling asleep- Lisa’s voice is like warm butter).
In short, no! There are no major differences in the benefits of using rose quartz compared to jade rollers or gua sha tools.
Rose quartz is reportedly better at staying cool, which can be beneficial for depuffing the skin, while jade is more adaptive, so you can heat it up to relieve muscle tension.
Despite it being a somewhat contentious issue (I recently had a skincare brand founder tell me that all facial massage is bad, as pulling on the skin leads to sagging… which I’ve chosen to ignore), I am a really firm believer that regular facial massage is of great benefit to the skin.
The principle of it, scientifically, makes sense to me. Whether you massage using your fingers, a roller, or a gua sha tool, the purpose of facial massage is to stimulate circulation, relax the muscles and drain any excess fluid through the lymphatic system- all of which are of great benefit to both the skin and the mind.
The “sculpting” benefits of facial massage are pretty temporary, particularly when we’re talking about fluid drainage, however as per anything health and beauty related, the key is consistency. Besides, temporary lifting and sculpting is still lifting and sculpting! I’ll take it!
The circulation stimulation of it all is what leads to more lasting results. When we work to boost our blood flow, we also stimulate our skin’s natural cell turnover process, which promotes healthier skin and collagen production.
It also delivers oxygen to the skin, which leads to that beautiful, healthy, post-massage glow.
Both gua sha and using a facial roller can assist with lymphatic drainage and depuffing, topical product absorption and easing the mind through the physical act of facial massage.
Rollers are generally easier to use, so they’re a great place to start if you’re working your very first facial massage tool into your skincare routine, however gua sha has the added benefit of muscle tension and, in my opinion, is superior in terms of sculpting.
The choice is yours!